DIRECTOR: TIM MILLER | SCREENPLAY: DAVID S. GOYER, JUSTIN RHODES, BILLY RAY | STARRING: LINDA HAMILTON, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, MACKENZIE DAVIS, NATALIA REYES, GABRIEL LUNA | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Following the exceptional impact of The Terminator and T2, the film series sadly struggled to achieve that magic again with a string of muddled follow-ups, but over the years audiences have still gravitated towards these instalments because they know how glorious it still has the 'potential' to be. With James Cameron producing, Tim Miller (Deadpool) directing, Linda Hamilton (to make some readers feel old, it's been 28 years since we last saw Sarah Connor control the screen) and Arnold Schwarzenegger on board, the first trailer contained a raw baseline that we could agree on, and over the last few months anticipation again grew for this sci-fi pillar...
Pitched by James Cameron to be the actual continuation for the original two films, and taking place in 2022, Dark Fate introduces us to well-known faces straight away, and as the backbone is set, we get hit with unstoppable, nostalgic brutality that many viewers will know very well. Harnessing the idea that no matter what we do, AI is going to devastate our civilization completely, and even though the Connor went through robot hell to wipe the Skynet regime out of the future, sadly their victory had an expiry date on it due to the unforeseen rise of Legion. This deadly new threat causes Dani Ramos (Reyes) to embrace a surreal new lifestyle alongside the kick-ass 'soldier-assassin' Grace (Davis), who's been sent from the future to protect humankind.
The time-travelling nemesis Rev-9 (Luna) is a sharp enemy that mainly uses brute force in favour of dialogue, and as it frustratingly clashes with our heroes in stunning action-packed sequences that will have your eyes fixed on the screen, its presence does excitingly feel like a tip of the hat to Robert Patrick's T-1000. The return of legendary characters is a move that thankfully makes sense on this particular outing, and as we treasure each moment Sarah and the Terminator share creative lines together based around a future that never happened, the writers have skilfully laid the path for heroine Dani who steadily swims her way to the plot surface.
Obviously, we can't take in this machine mayhem without talking about the special effects (one of the key reasons why this franchise is sci-fi gold). It's superb to see that Tim Miller and his team have given more attention to this part of the picture in comparison to some Terminator themed projects before it, and if maybe it's still not quite at the awestruck level some might crave, they have certainly put a hefty work schedule in to deliver an electric result that won't become dated too soon. With adrenaline-filled entertainment smothered with a throwback pounding tone, Dark Fate can proudly celebrate the 35th anniversary of its older sibling The Terminator as it takes a refreshing step in the right direction.